Date of the report

Overview

Incarceration rate (per 100,000 inhabitants)

47

i
31/12/2014

Total number of prisoners

60,486

i
31/12/2014

Number of releases

-

Average length of detention (in months)

36

i
2014
/ Center for Prisoners’ Rights and Japanese Federation of Bar Associations (JFBA)

Occupancy rate

67.1 %

i
2014
/ ICPR

Overcrowding is an issue for certain penal institutions

yes

in women-only prisons

Name of the authority(ies) in charge of the prison administration

Ministry of Justice

The penitentiary administration’s budget

231,707,000,000

Some prisons are managed by the private sector

yes

There are four Private Financial Initiative (PFI) institutions (Mine, Shimane Asahi, Kitsuregawa and Harima), but management of these facilities is shared conducted by the private sector and the Ministry of Justice.
The PFI uses private capital and expertise in the construction, maintenance and operation of public institutions. The scope of the operation entrusted to the private sector can include treatment of inmates and the security of the prison. These organizations have a reported high turnover of employees, and there are rumors of precarious contracts.

Japanese prisons operate systems of punishment and reward, intended to encourage sentenced inmates towards reform and rehabilitation.
Sentenced inmates are assigned a restriction level or rank from Level 1 (least restricted, most benefits) to Level 4 (most restricted, least benefits) and the facilities and treatment of the prisoners varies accordingly. Good behavior, success at work, and length of time served may lead to an increase in rank. Privileges depend on rank and include number of visits the prisoner can receive.

In Japan, the collective term ‘penal institutions’ denotes prisons, juvenile prisons and detention houses. Both prisons and juvenile prisons mainly accommodate sentenced inmates and conduct correctional treatment. Detention house are mainly for un-sentenced inmates awaiting trial.

In April 2011, the total number of prisons was comprised of:

  • 62 adult prisons
  • 8 branch prisons
  • 52 juvenile facilities
  • 8 detention houses
  • 103 branch detention houses

Total number of penal institutions

188

Total capacity of the prison system

90,531

i
31/12/2013
/ ICPR

Number of penal institutions managed by the private sector

4

i
2015

Number of supervisory positions

17,481

i
2011
/ Ministry of Justice

In 2011, there were 19,380 staff working in different services of the Japanese prison system.
Japanese prison staffs include prison officers who are in charge of the overall treatment of inmates, and educational courses and assessment specialists who are concerned with prisoner work and guidance needs. In addition, prisons are staffed with medical doctors, pharmacists, nurses and general clerical staff.
Prison officers are classified into seven ranks: correctional superintendent supervisors, correctional superintendents, vice-correctional superintendents, captains, assistant captains, senior prison officers and junior prison officers. Prison staff complain that more staff are required in order to face new types of prisoners such as drug addicts and the elderly, which both require specific, additional attention.

Guard to inmate ratio

1:3,4

Number of social and education workers

983

i
2011
/ Ministry of Justice

Social and education worker to inmate ratio

1:66